Cyber Security is all over the news – whether it’s the latest hack, a new type of threat or a global company leak. Many companies are featuring in the news following being a victim of the above all focuses on one thing.

Too often we are seeing “our systems failed”, “our data missed the risk” or “we did not have the right processes in place.” While all these confessions may be true, a simple truth lies beneath it all: the awareness was absent.

Whether it is having the right analytical tools, the right notification systems to for irregular activity or staff education, more often than not the problem lies with a lack of awareness.

So what can you do?

The first and most important part to eliminating the risk is education. Educating your staff on the basics of cyber security will leverage your internal communication. With regular check ups, you can ensure your staff are changing their passwords regularly, staying compliant, not taking sensitive data home via USB or online and not fall victim to phishing scams.

The next part of a cyber security awareness program is openly disclosing threats, risks and attempted breaches. We are no longer in an age where the experts only understand cyber security. With on-going embarrassment if you suffer a breach, companies are putting themselves at risks with unresolved problems and board members that do not understand the potential problems. This is an out of date approach. Previously, you may have got away with patching a breach, hackers are now more sophisticated and leaving your board and employees uneducated will not prevent a similar attack reoccurring.

Disclosing this information is an instant way of raising awareness, educating those vulnerable to it and preventing a similar future breach.

The final part of a cyber security awareness program is to have the right software in place. Of course there is a range of systems you could use, but a user behaviour program and a data management program are great places to start.

The first allows you to track who is accessing your data, what they are accessing and what they are doing with it. This awareness of how your data is being used instantly opens up a potential cyber security mitigation action plan. Do you have members of your IT department accessing classified financial documents? Be aware of it, track it and action it.

9 times out of 10 it may be harmless, and an employee being nosey, however, there is often no need for these employees to have access to this data. Eliminating the risk, placing restrictions on your data and being aware of user behaviour can be the cost saving factor from a data leak.

Data management is also a vital part to making cyber security awareness stick. With your expensive cyber security programs in place, how do you measure their efficiency? After all, if you don’t know what your systems are protecting, they are likely not protecting the right thing. Ensure you use your data analytics to see where your attacks are coming from, what kind of threats you are suffering from and build your cyber security program effectively around this.

Without the right awareness your company may be sitting blissfully unaware of the potential risks you are facing.